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People – Notes For Travellers

NOTES FOR TRAVELLERS
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Guyana – Its People

victorine-735x297The footprints of the colonizing powers are still apparent today in Guyanese architecture, street names, towns, landmarks and, most importantly, in the mixture of its people. A relatively young nation of 40 years, Guyana boasts a multicultural society diverse in history, race, culture and religion, but is the most sparsely populated country in the region. The population is made up of six races: Indo-Guyanese, Afro-Guyanese, Amerindians, Europeans, Chinese and mixed-race people. However, it is estimated that more than 500,000 Guyanese live abroad, mostly in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and the Caribbean.

Guyana is sparsely populated with fewer than one million people, which is one reason why its rich environment remains largely untouched. The majority of Guyanese live in a narrow strip along the Atlantic coast, leaving intact up to 80 percent of the country’s interior tropical forest. This biodiversity hotspot is without doubt one of the least explored rain forests on the planet but it is poised on the brink of changes that could have devastating effects on its rich flora and fauna. Logging and mineral extraction threaten to wreak havoc in habitats that have survived undisturbed for thousands of years.

Language

Guyana is South America’s only English-speaking country, affording visitors a unique opportunity to easily interact with local populations. Strong Caribbean accents and a native creole dialect can take some getting used to, however. Amerindian dialects, Creole, Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), and Urdu are also spoken, with the latter two restricted largely to Georgetown.

Religion

Forty percent of Guyanese identify themselves as Christians, 28% as Hindus, and 7% as Muslim.

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